This manuscript is intended to set the stage for a panel discussion on "Collaboration Among Operators & Contractors in Deepwater & Ultra-Deepwater Fields" scheduled for May 4, 2005 at the conference. The manuscript includes the white-paper input from participants of this panel, who are

  • R. Don Vardeman (Keynote Speaker), Vice President of Marine Engineering, Kerr-McGee Oil & Gas Corporation;

  • Randall K. Kubota, General Manager of Drilling and Production Systems, ChevronTexaco Energy Company;

  • Bart Heijermans, Senior Vice President of Offshore & Gas Storage, Enterprise Products Partners, L.P.;

  • John Huff, Chairman & CEO, Oceaneering International;

  • Mark McCurley, Vice President of Global Projects, Halliburton; and

  • Sandeep Khurana (Moderator), Senior Specialist, JP Kenny.


This manuscript addresses issues related to collaboration among operators and contractors on technical and financial aspects of developing deepwater and ultra-deepwater fields. The underlying objective of the collaboration is that the risk is shared among operators and contractors, while both parties concentrate on their individual core businesses.

While collaboration is highly sought, circumstances may raise conflicting situations. For example, an operator may buy resources to secure equipment supply chain for its deepwater projects, thereby locking up its capital and underscoring the work scope of a contractor. On the other hand, an aggressive, risk-taking contractor may transcend its traditional role, crossing into that of the operator by owning field reserves, thereby getting distracted from its core services and potentially being perceived as competing with an operator. These overlapping roles raise the question: What is the most effective involvement in field development for an operator? Vice versa, when does a contractor's role interfere with an operator's business model? The manuscript will explore collaborative approaches, in line with operator's and contractor's roles and eventual rewards, in the offshore industry.

The panelist's white-paper inputs are in the section on panelist viewpoint and cover the following:

  • inherent risks and uncertainties in the field development process;

  • ownership of deepwater hub platforms and pipeline infrastructure;

  • leasing and operating vs. ownership of FPSOs;

  • subsea tiebacks and supply chain management;

  • ownership and implementation of technology.


The manuscript begins with set-up of operators and contractors in the offshore industry. It presents an overview of deepwater and ultra-deepwater (D&UD) complexity and its impact on the field development process.

The manuscript shows the main drivers for involvement in D&UD fields and highlights the investments and forecasts of future expenditures. It draws attention toward the trend among operator's participation in the D&UD market place. It then discusses various phases in the field development life cycle and contractor's roles in these phases.

A basic background to commercial arrangements among operators and contractors is presented, followed by some of the drivers and challenges in interaction among these parties. Finally, the panelists' viewpoints outline issues involved in the industry and explore the collaborative approaches in the D&UD market.

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